rendering of a skyscraper covered in trees
Rendering Courtesy Raw Vision Studio

Stefano Boeri Architetti Designs Five New “Tree-Scrapers” in Central China

The sprawling Easyhome Huanggang Vertical Forest City Complex transforms the mid-size city into an urban greenscape.

Celebrated Italian firm Stefano Boeri Architetti first articulated its paradigm-shifting tree-scraper model with the award-winning Vertical Forest tower in central Milan. By incorporating mature tree varieties endemic to the surrounding Lombardy region on every story, the iconic spire demonstrates the potential of coexisting with nature. The abundant plantings help create an urban green wall, and combined with mineral-based building materials like glass and stone, the trees help establish a temperate microclimate, regulate humidity, produce oxygen, reduce CO2, and absorb other microparticle pollutants. The structure is characterized by staggered, overhanging balconies.

“The Vertical Forest model will fundamentally transform the landscape of future cities.”

— Xu Yibo, partner Stefano Boeri Architetti in China
rendering of a skyscraper in china covered in trees
Rendering Courtesy Raw Vision Studio

The practice has gone on to solidify the typology with subsequent projects in Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Paris; Lausanne, Switzerland; and Tirana, Albania. Each project incorporates local flora. The recently completed Easyhome Huanggang Vertical Forest City Complex is the first development of its kind in China. And in this iteration, the firm introduced extra-large bays and facades that support the plants’ growth.  Covering 11.2 acres of downtown Huanggang, the extensive mixed-use compound features five towers, 404 trees, 4,620 shrubs, and 26,000-square-feet of perennial grasses. The groundcover between the different buildings provides much-needed public green spaces for the city’s 1.1 million inhabitants.

“The design allows for an excellent view of the tree-lined facades, enhancing the sensorial experience of the greenery and integrating the plant landscape with the architectural dimension,” says Stefano Boeri, the firm’s founder. “Thus, [residents] have the opportunity to experience the urban space from a different perspective while fully enjoying the comfort of being surrounded by nature.” 

Rendering Courtesy Raw Vision Studio

Two of the five structures are dedicated to residential units and feature a newly developed closed and exposed balcony scheme. This design makes the most of Yangtze River views. The other buildings form around a redirected north-south commercial artery, a new city center in certain respects. Unifying the different elements is a pixelated glazed facade concept that promotes transparency and smooth programmatic transitions.

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“The completion of this project is a big step in the practice of Stefano Boeri’s green concept in China,” says Xu Yibo, partner at the firm’s office in China. “The Vertical Forest model in residences will fundamentally transform the landscape of future cities and change people’s expectations for future ecological life.” Though construction is still underway, residents have already moved into portions of the towers.

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